Fairfax County police yesterday were still trying to figure out how a 17-year-old youth -- who used two vehicles in a demolition spree through central Fairfax County on Saturday night -- could do so much damage in such a short time.
What they thought was a routine domestic trouble call at a high-rise apartment building southwest of Falls Church quickly evolved into a "Road Warrior"-like chase scene that included gunfire, death threats, the hijacking of two vehicles and at least $15,000 in property damage, including wrecked police cruisers and a smashed storefront.
"It is a very fortunate thing, considering the circumstances and the number of people involved, that no one was hurt," county police spokesman Warren Carmichael said yesterday.
The driver, a 17-year-old Falls Church area youth, was arrested Saturday night and charged as a juvenile with two counts of armed robbery in connection with the hijacking of a car and van used during the 30-minute-long chase.
Carmichael said the youth, who was not identified because of his age, was being held in the county detention center pending court action.
Police were first notified at about 7:30 p.m. that a young man with a gun was chasing his 15-year-old brother at the Fairfax Towers apartment building, located at the intersection of Rte. 7 and Pimmit Drive.
Angie Nasser, 16, and Bridget Mora, 17, were in the building's parking lot at the time.
"We were playing Frisbee, then we heard these two girls yelling out the windows: 'Get the cops. Somebody get the cops. He's got a gun,'" Nasser recalled yesterday afternoon.
Soon after police arrived, witnesses said, the youth bolted from a side door and disappeared over a nearby hill.
Armed with what what later identified as a starter's pistol he ran into the middle of Rte. 7 and forced Charles Schoon from his light blue Chevette. Schoon, described by police as a Falls Church man in his 60s, said he decided not to argue with the screaming youth.
The youth sped west in the Chevette toward Tysons Corner, then abruptly turned south on Gallows Road to elude pursuing police.
A short time later, police received reports that the car had rammed into the plate glass window of the Peoples Drug Store in the Yorktowne Shopping Center, at Gallows Road and Rte. 50. No one was injured, although the Chevette was badly damaged.
The youth ran from the wrecked car and forced Zeki Gunessever, a Vienna area resident, from his van as Gunessever sat with his 4-year-old son in the shopping center's parking lot.
The youth sped off in the van south on Gallows Road, smashing into several cars along the way, then cut through the parking lot of a 7-Eleven store and roared into an Exxon station at Gallows Road and the Capital Beltway.
Eugene Dodson was the station's night manager Saturday evening.
"He came flying in here, screaming and yelling, just missing the oil rack by six inches," Dodson said yesterday. "He just kept telling everybody get back, get back."
Dodson said when he first saw the van screech into his station, he thought it was the prelude to a holdup. But the youth apparently did not want money, he said.
A few minutes after the youth left the station, Dodson said, a man, his wife and two children drove up in a new Audi, badly smashed along the driver's side.
"He was looking for the guy driving the van," Dodson said. "He told me the van hit him." The Audi's driver also told Dodson he had bought the car two weeks previously.
From the service station, police said, the youth detoured onto a narrow, dead-end access road, then drove across the lawn of a house at 3425 Luttrell Rd.
Minutes later, the youth pulled the van alongside a woman jogger running north on Gallows Road and told her to "prepare to die," police said. He then chased her in the van. The woman ran for the open door of the Fairfax Hospital emergency room, several blocks away.
The youth tried to follow the woman, and ran the van through the lobby's windows. The woman, whom police refused to identify, was unhurt.
The youth then backed the van out the emergency room lobby with as many as four county police cars close behind and smashed into one that attempted to block Gallows Road. The youth also crashed headon with another cruiser near Lee Highway.
All along the way, more county police cruisers were joining the chase. At one point, when the youth made a U-turn on Gallows Road, he raised his pistol, pointed it at Capt. John Isom and pulled the trigger twice, Carmichael said.
Although the pistol did not fire, Isom fired his service revolver once, striking the back of the van, Carmichael said.
Police eventually forced the youth off the road on the Lee Highway overpass at the Capital Beltway, where he crawled from the van with his hands up.